House ends Congress by passing $1.7 trillion funding package

The House of Representatives approved a mammoth $1.7 trillion omnibus package on Friday, capping weeks of drama to block government funding for the next fiscal year.

The bill passed largely along partisan lines, 225-201-1, one day after the Senate passed the bill in a bipartisan vote. The legislation now heads to President Biden’s desk for his signature.

The bill includes $772.5 billion in non-defense discretionary spending and $858 billion in defense funding.

It also includes more than $40 billion in funding to support Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing invasion, more than the White House requested in assistance last month, as well as $38 billion in emergency disaster assistance. .

The passage comes days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s dramatic visit to Washington, where he met with President Biden and addressed Congress amid questions about whether a Republican House will remain committed to providing assistance to Ukraine.

The legislation includes a ban on TikTok on federal government phones, reflecting concerns on both sides about how the Chinese government could access data about US citizens through the social media platform.

and includes legislation known as the Electoral Counting Law, which clarifies that the vice president’s role in certifying a presidential election is ceremonial. That measure is intended to help prevent a repeat of the violence at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, when a pro-Trump mob invaded the building and forced the evacuation of Congress.

While the bill garnered broad Democratic support, only nine House Republicans voted in favor of the measure. Eighteen Republicans voted in favor in the Senate.

House Republican leaders whipped their members to oppose it, and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (California) joined other Republicans in urging Senate Republican lawmakers to oppose it. Some House Republicans promised retribution on Senate Republicans who backed the omnibus, arguing that it should not have passed with the GOP set to take over the House in weeks.

House Republicans along with some Senate conservatives argued that the GOP would have significantly more influence on spending decisions by winning a House majority in January.

While Democrats have acknowledged that they wanted more for non-defense spending, the party has also touted a list of investment locks for its priorities in arguing for the overall package.

The measure includes billions in funding for health care and research, including $47.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health, as well as $9.2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Democrats also pointed to a $13.4 billion increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a $28.5 billion increase for child nutrition programs and $6 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

Senate Republicans behind the bill have defended increased defense spending and argued that failure to pass a bus would have hurt defense programs. Without a bus, Congress likely would have passed a stopgap spending measure to prevent a shutdown, keeping funding at current levels.

Defense spending increased about 10 percent in the new bill, while the increase to the non-defense baseline was about half that. The annual inflation rate reached 7.1 percent last month, above the increase in non-defense spending but below the increase in defense spending.

In addition to defense spending, Republican appropriators also point to the 4.6 percent pay increase for military members.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) touted defense spending in defending the bill, saying “the world’s largest military will get the funding boost it needs, beating inflation.” .

“In the meantime, non-veteran non-defense spending will be below the rate of inflation, because of a real dollar cut,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean other Republicans aren’t furious.

In a video posted online Thursday, President Trump called the package a “disaster,” while urging all Republicans to oppose what he called a “ridiculous and unacceptable $1.7 trillion overhead spending bill.” and called McConnell “more Democrat than Republican.” .”

McCarthy also trashed the bill before the vote, claiming that “buried in the bus is even more awakening money in government and the military” and funds for “left-wing pet projects.”

Some Democrats weren’t too happy with the package either, with two defecting from progressives. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) voted “no” on the measure, while Rep. Rashid Tlaib voted “present.”

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (DN.Y.), another prominent progressive, voted to support the bus on Friday, but said Congress was passing “too much on defense.”

“It is always a commitment. It’s one of those hold your nose and vote ‘yes’ situations when it comes to the bus,” he said, adding that it is generally worth passing if it means funding the party’s FY2023 priorities.

“Looking at the increases in community schools, that was a huge win for us,” said Bowman, a former middle school principal. “All the funds we received for our community funding projects were also huge.”

Congress had until midnight Friday as a deadline to pass funding legislation to prevent a shutdown.

House leaders had previously hoped to pass the omnibus on Thursday night, but the timing was pushed to the next day due to the hours-long process to prepare the bill, spanning thousands of pages, for a vote in the house. low. .

The Senate also made changes to the bill during a marathon voting session before final passage on Thursday. adoption of eight amendments.

The measures include amendments that senators say would allow proceeds from assets seized from sanctioned Russian oligarchs to go to Ukrainian aid, a measure aimed at strengthening breastfeeding protections for workers and another dealing with workers’ compensation. of the victims of September 11.

Lawmakers also approved a short-term interim funding bill to prevent a lapse in government funding while the bus is registered.

Updated: 14:37

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